Author Topic: [muso] Guitar advice please?  (Read 1798 times)

[muso] Guitar advice please?
« on: October 07, 2008, 10:14:51 PM »
For Xmas I'm getting an acoustic or semi-acoustic, and need some advice on what to get.  Today I had a look at what's in the local store, and for around 250 they had a rather nice Cort MR710F.  It seemed they mostly had Cort and Tanglewood.  I might be tempted to ditch the idea of getting a semi-acoustic, as I'll be getting a good microphone, so the pickup seems rather surplus.  So any idea for a good acoustic guitar around that price range please?  Thanks.

Lfbarfe

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2008, 10:17:47 PM »
For about £250, you can probably pick up a nice jazz-type f-hole semi-acoustic.

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2008, 11:08:01 PM »
I think Neil means an electro acoustic guitar.

I asked my buddy about purchasing an acoustic, and his answer was the usual: go to ebay and try a few out until you find one you like, then sell the rest back. It is true that you can't really judge what would be your own perfect guitar until you have at least two or three to compare over a period. And with acoustics you are much less able to make adjustments to the intonation/action/relief, as you can with an electric.

All that said, that Cort looks like it fits the bill. I would think the electrics are worth having, even if a mic is on the way: there's nothing like having the option to simultaneously record both ways and choose the most appropriate, or even blend the two signals.

Lfbarfe

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 01:04:03 AM »
I think Neil means an electro acoustic guitar.

Yes, I looked at the one he was considering and thought that, but thought that a big old archtop would appeal to a man of his calibre.

Quote
I asked my buddy about purchasing an acoustic, and his answer was the usual: go to ebay and try a few out until you find one you like, then sell the rest back. It is true that you can't really judge what would be your own perfect guitar until you have at least two or three to compare over a period. And with acoustics you are much less able to make adjustments to the intonation/action/relief, as you can with an electric.

The problem I have with most cheap acoustics is the width of the neck. I've got an old Epiphone 'Everly Brothers' model with the thinnest neck I've ever found on an acoustic. I loves it.

Quote
All that said, that Cort looks like it fits the bill. I would think the electrics are worth having, even if a mic is on the way: there's nothing like having the option to simultaneously record both ways and choose the most appropriate, or even blend the two signals.

Piezo pickups tend to be quite thin and reedy, IME. Use the electronics for the attack, and a mic on the soundhole for body.

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 01:19:13 AM »
The problem I have with most cheap acoustics is the width of the neck. I've got an old Epiphone 'Everly Brothers' model with the thinnest neck I've ever found on an acoustic. I loves it.

I bought a cheap acoustic from Hobgoblin last December, and was surprised at how narrow the neck was. I might look to buy another with a slightly wider neck, bass player that I am.

Lfbarfe

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 01:22:04 AM »
Made in Vietnam. They've only got wee hands, y'see.

Gawd's teeth, I really did have more money than sense once. In a gig bag on top of my wardrobe is Barfe's Folly. Why did I buy a 12-string when I can barely control 6? Every so often, I get it down to give it a clean before putting it on eBay, but then I strum a chord, grin like a twat, think 'I don't need the money that badly' and put it back.

Marty McFly

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 11:32:11 AM »
I really love the look of the Epiphone Hummingbird, those are available online at about £180. no pickup, but you could pick up a nice condenser mic for around £70..



also, being the Fender geek I am, their new California series acoustics are rather snazzy. yours for about the same price as a Hummingbird, though there are electronics in this one..


Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 05:37:20 PM »
Bit more expensive, but try Faith. The Mercury Parlour is about £350 and is really lovely.



Or my girlfriend bought an Ashbury acoustic from Hobgoblin for £185 recently that I found really really bloody impressive for the price.


Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008, 02:56:22 AM »
Bit more expensive, but try Faith. The Mercury Parlour is about £350 and is really lovely.



I've got the electro version and it's a great instrument for the money. That said, just because I like it doesn't necessarily mean you will.

My advice would be to try as many guitars in your price range as you can (and maybe a few that are out of your price range just to see if they seem any better to you) and then go for the one that you like the most.



Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2008, 08:58:50 AM »
Piezos can sound pretty shit even on a decent acoustic, but before you write them off, check out the Fishman Aura - using acoustic images of expensive mics they can completely transform a flat sound. They have recently released a series of cheaper pedals tailored to specific types of acoustic guitar (eg dreadnought, nylon etc).

Sam

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2008, 04:18:23 PM »
I can second the recommendation for Faith. They're great guitars. I have a Faith Saturn which I got a few years ago for 300 quid. Not sure what it costs now, though. When I was buying it I tried loads of other guitars, including all the big manufacturers but the Faith was the best. Definitely worth the money.

thepuffpastryhangman

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 07:14:05 PM »
Yeah, WTF am I doing in this sacred quarter of the site? Anyway...

If you've time and patience and a bit of knowledge, why not go second hand?

Yonks ago I bought an old Yamaha FG 230. I've long since given it to a strumming buddy, but that's by-the-by. Thing is, the build quality was incomparable to anything around today, it makes a Martin look flimsy. It weighed a tonne (or ton) and was impossible to play for more than five minutes (even with six strings removed) but what quality. And the volume!
It's also nice to hold something with a bit of history, ya know, imagining who first owned it over thirty+ years ago, what songs they played on it, all that sentimental tosh. I won't go on.

You've probably considered this and decided it'd be madness.

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2008, 12:03:41 PM »
I'm searching around to buy a pickup for my acoustic guitar. But I'm confused. How come I always see footage of people like Elliott Smith and Kurt Cobain playing an acoustic with one of these:



on their guitar, yet it appears to be a pickup for an electric guitar. And why does every guitar shop I go to seem to direct me to the acoustic pickups and avoids a pickups like this?

(hope there's no connection between these pickups and tragedy)

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2008, 12:43:58 PM »
I do know that acoustic guitar strings are made with different metals to electric guitar strings and are not so magnetic and pick up far less successfully with an electric guitar pickup like the above.
Could be, the times you've seen guitars with the above, that they are only cosmetically "acoustic" guitars, fitted with electric guitar strings and all.

Spiteface

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2008, 12:56:35 PM »
I'm searching around to buy a pickup for my acoustic guitar. But I'm confused. How come I always see footage of people like Elliott Smith and Kurt Cobain playing an acoustic with one of these:



on their guitar, yet it appears to be a pickup for an electric guitar. And why does every guitar shop I go to seem to direct me to the acoustic pickups and avoids a pickups like this?

(hope there's no connection between these pickups and tragedy)

No such connection that I'm aware of.  I know nothing of Elliott Smith, but I can explain Kurt's guitar (you're talking about the one he used on MTV unplugged, yes?)

Martin made an acoustic guitar with DeArmond pckups fitted to it (not the pickup you posted, which is a humbucker-sized P90), like this (sorry for the huge pic):



It looks like some demented homebrew job, but Martin actually did make those as stock.

This link may also be useful, it's about the Nirvana MTV Unplugged show:

http://members.tripod.com/pplesser/story10.html

Quote
For the show, Cobain played a Martin D-18E that he had purchased at Voltage Guitar in Los Angeles during the fall of '93, and which had become his main acoustic. With his characteristic flair for the oddball, the guitarist had picked up a rare misfit. Th e D-18E, one of Martin's earliest stabs at an electrified guitar, is essentially a D-18 acoustic with two pickups, three control knobs and a selector switch grafted on. Introduced in 1958, it was discontinued in 1959; only 302 were ever produced. The inst rument was the perfect acoustic for Cobain, a counterpart to the trashed old Mustangs and Jaguars he favored, not to mention the thrift shop clothes and doll parts he accumulated.

But unlike his beautifully threadbare cardigans, this Cobain cast-off had some real intrinsic value: "I don't believe he had any idea how rare it was before he bought it," says Earnie Bailey. "Kurt was neither a collector nor a connoisseur of rare guitar s. I think he saw the D-18E as an oddity, hoping it would sound as good as it looked. Unfortunately, the instrument's DeArmond pickups were designed with nickel strings in mind, so hearing it with bronze-wound strings was pretty disappointing. Our solutio n was to attach yet another pickup-a Bartolini model 3AV-to the top of the Martin. Kurt first became interested in that pickup when he saw Peter Buck using one and really liked the sound."

While the usual Unplugged procedure is for acoustic guitars to run direct, Cobain insisted on putting his Martin through his trusty Fender Twin Reverb amp and his usual array of effects boxes. [See accompanying story, page 68.]

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2008, 01:08:40 PM »
Ah, thanks for that! I always loved Cobain's guitar for Unplugged. It looks and sounds beautiful (in a lo-fi way). I got a Martin 00015 last Christmas and have never got around to electrifying it. I reckon it would look beautiful with those sort of pickups on it. Can anyone recommend anything?

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2008, 01:21:29 PM »
So, his Martin's original pickup was designed to be played with Nickel strings, ie Electric guitar strings? I wonder why he didn't just fit it with electric strings, then? Seems a compromise to add another pickup that is also going to run at low volume from the brass wound strings.

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2008, 02:05:29 PM »
I was wondering what was going on with pickups on acoustic guitars as well recently, for example in this John Martyn performance which was on BBC 4 a couple of weeks ago:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ew6P_KoEPzc

What is that, an ordinary single coil pickup that he's just gaffer-taped on!? I wouldn't have thought that would work very successfully without feedback problems and such. Maybe it is all in the strings he's using. He certainly has a weird sound.

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2008, 05:02:12 PM »
As nobody listened in the Guitars & Gear thread, can anyone advise re: 12 string guitars?  I see from above that LFB isn't a fan...  I'm interested from a practical point of view, I've heard that they can be prone to warping due to the stress through the neck, has anyone had any experience of this?  Thoughts in general?  See also post in the other thread, which is still on the front page of Oscillations, I think.

Spiteface

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2008, 11:03:06 PM »
I'm no expert, but aren't most 12-String guitars reinforced for that type of thing?

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2008, 05:06:42 PM »
I took a pal round loads of guitar shops today, and found one that I LOVE the sound of!  Not too trebly and tinny, which a lot of them sounded to me.  It's over the price I wanted though, but my Mum's boyfriend is putting money towards it, so I'm well pleased.  Going in to pick it up on Friday, finally I have a great acoustic guitar :-)

It's a LAG 400D Winter, a nice big dreadnought. 

(Now I'm kind of starting to panic that I didn't try out the GLA400DCE, but I just don't think I'll use a pickup.)

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2008, 07:31:04 PM »
I just bought a really cool small body electro-acoustic - a CA Cargo. It's the size of a travel guitar but sounds huge. It's made from carbon fibre so it's incredibly strong and immune from any kind of warping - you could leave it in the back of a car in the middle of a heatwave, or take it on a skiing holiday without any issues. Using carbon fibre also means they can create extremely comfortable designs without the constraints of wood acoustics. The back has nice body contours and neck access to the upper frets is fantastic.

The company is Composite Acoustics and the stuff they're doing is pretty radical. Well worth checking out when they reach the UK.


Pylon Man

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2008, 08:29:21 PM »
I'm also looking for guitar advice. I know fuck all about guitars, but I know I want an electric one, with a flat fretboard, but I can't find one in real life shops, and I'm not willing to spend over £200, although the cheaper the better frankly. Those are my only criteria.

Edit: just remember another criterion. I like being able to bend the strings behind the nut. I can do this on my current guitar which is a strat style, so maybe one of them.

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2008, 10:07:04 PM »
I'm unaware of electric guitars with flat fretboards, and I'm puzzled by your desire to find one. I have a Classical guitar with a flat fret board and it's the most uncomfortable shape for my hand to accommadate of all my guitars (albeit not that bad - relatively).

edit: They exist, nonetheless http://www.shredacademy.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=487

Pylon Man

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2008, 10:23:01 PM »
Have I got the terminology wrong? I just mean a fretboard that isn't slightly curved.

NoSleep

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2008, 10:34:42 PM »
Have I got the terminology wrong? I just mean a fretboard that isn't slightly curved.

Curved along the body, or do you mean the frets are curved slightly? The curve along the body is essential and adjustable via the truss rod: it is necessary to allow a small amount (of "relief") to allow the string clearance to vibrate.
The flat fret is optional. I just find it less comfortable, particularly when playing barre chords.

Spiteface

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Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2008, 10:39:27 PM »
Most electric guitar fret boards are somewhat curved.  What you'd want to look at is the "radius" of the neck

This link explains that quite well.

http://www.ratcliffe.co.za/articles/radius.shtml



Quote
Fretboard radius is simply the curve of the fretboard from side to side. This curve is to make the fretboard more comfortable for the fretting hand. The radius is described as a measurement such as 7.25", 9.5", 12" or 16". These measurements tell you that the fretboard is a segment of a circle or cylinder, which has a radius, or size of 7.25", 9.5", 12" or 16". The larger the radius, the larger the circle, and the flatter the fretboard will be.

Imagine the surface of a guitar fretboard to be part of a circle.  The radius of that full circle is what the radius of the fretboard refers to.

You say you are considering a strat style guitar for under £200.  The most popular ones like these tend to be Squier Strats or Yamaha Pacificas.

From what you have said about wanting a flatter fretboard the Pacifica might be the one to look at.  That one has a 13" radius, compared to the 9.5" most Squiers have.

Re: [muso] Guitar advice please?
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2008, 03:33:46 PM »
I'd go for a pacifica. Theres a guide to modding them somewhere on the internet and apparently they sound amazing with a bit of tweaking.